Friday, 10 April 2009

The importance of local country domain names

The first domain I ever bought was back in 2001, eight years ago. I bought it because the name was unusual, a combination of "web", and "entropy",

information: (communication theory) a numerical measure of the uncertainty of an outcome; "the signal contained thousands of bits of information"

If I could go back eight years, and just tell myself, that nobody cares if you think of a funky name, with fancy words. Unless you've got the branding budget of Coca-Cola, nobody gives a sh*t.

Every domain I buy today, and that's one a month, at least, is something that means something. The domain *must* match the search term you're targeting. The best example of this, is It matches the highest paying keyword in the world, and hit #1 spot in in 24 hours. - It's dropped a little since, but it's still ranking well.

This is certainly an unfair advantage in Google. I would concur with anybody who could pick out 10 much more deserving websites for that position, but, If you know how to play the domain game in Google, it's their loss.

So, going back to the topic of the post. I've understood the importance of top level country domain names, and I've got hard figures to back up what I'm saying here, it's not a hunch, not a guess, it's fact.

If you sell something that is only relevant for one country, i.e. Wedding car hire in England, then there is very very little chance that someone from south africa will care about your site, so you should not target them, or even delude yourself into thinking you *might* make a sale outside of England. Forget it, it won't happen, be honest. Therefore, DO NOT BUY, instead by you will get a boost in, that is worth hundreds of pounds in online advertising.

The next business model is one that goes international well, such as, International Mobile Phone Sim cards. So therefore, instead of buying, which is (a) giving you no advantage in the UK / US (b) Alienating all non-english speakers. You should buy, AND, .ch, .at, etc.,

Sure, this means extra cost in Domain name registration fees, dilution of your brand, translation fees, but believe me, it will be worth it.

Even if the top level domain of a country is not available, then a second level domain is ok too. They are normally cheaper, less regulated, and give the same boost in google. Ie, a is much easier to get than a .cz, same for .sk and same for and pt. The list goes on.

Some sample boosts in Google due to getting a top level domain from the target-contry:
.com -> - 70 positions up in one month.
.com -> .ie - 681 positions up in one month.

You can get the same effect with online advertising, but, this approach is much cheaper, and in my mind, easier.

That's my thoughts on SEO this Easter weekend.

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